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who resist the Spirit, who live not, walk not, by its dictates, have no faculties by which to ascertain its spiritual delights. “ The natural man, " the man devoted to the world and to the indul
gence of his natural affections, receiveth not “ the things of the Spirit of God, for they are “ foolishness unto him, neither can he know " them, for they are spiritually discerned.”
The life of the Christian is to himself a hidden life, as being not fully enjoyed here, but depending for its rewards upon an unseen and future existence. St. Paul calls it a hope laid up
for him in heaven; a crown of righteousness laid up in heaven, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give him at that day; an inheritance reserved in heaven for you, ready to be revealed in the last time. It is hidden from him now, inasmuch as he knows not when he shall be called to its enjoyment; knows neither the day nor the hour wherein his Lord cometh to receive him to its possession. Nor does he know, with any distinctness, the nature of that spiritual body with which he shall be endued when, risen from the grave, he shall hear the welcome salutation which awaits him, “Enter thou into the joy of thy « Lord.” “ Beloved,” says St. John, “now are “ we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear “ what we shall be; but we know that when he “shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall “ see him as he is. For if we have been planted VOL. II.
together in the likeness of his death, we shall “ be also in the likeness of his resurrection; and
as we have borne the image of the earthy, we “ shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
But chiefly the life of the Christian is a hidden life, because he cannot estimate the greatness of that felicity which it shall be his to enjoy, for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath the heart of man conceived the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Still, though hidden, it is not uncertain nor insecure; for it is reserved in heaven, doubly safe with Christ in God. My brethren, ask yourselves what evidence of miracle, sign, and wonder, could be required, which was not vouchsafed to prove that Jesus Christ proceeded forth and came from God; and after having died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, what increase of evidence, what accumulated proof, did he not give by his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, to assure us that he left the world to go to the Father, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Believing, then, that he is in the Father, and the Father in him, with what confidence may we rejoice in his declaration, “ Because I live, ye shall live also ;" and in his promise, “ I will come again, and receive you "unto myself, that where I am" (in the bosom of the Father, at God's right hand, to which he has now ascended, “ there ye may be also.”
Thus encouraged, and assured that he who raised
Jesus from the dead will also quicken our mortal bodies by bis Spirit, which he has given us, the Christian, looking forward to that future life, hidden though now it be, will not hesitate to say, “I know in whom I have believed, “ and am persuaded that he is able to keep that “ which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Such, my brethren, was the meaning of the apostle, when, exhorting the Colossians to set their affections on things above, not on things on the earth, he says, “ For ye are dead, and your “ life is hid with Christ in God;" and most animating and inspiring is that assurance which he gave to them, and in them to all Christians, “ When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, “ then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Many there are who are dead in trespasses and sins; many who, living in pleasure, are dead while they live. Wretched, indeed, is their condition, and quickly will their vain delights, and their most cherished gratifications, have passed away. But to those who are dead, in the sense which we have been considering, dead to sin by continually resisting its solicitations; dead to the world, by being raised above its corrupting influence by the power of Christian faith, and the confidence of Christian hope ; to such belongs even now a peace which passeth understanding; and henceforth there is laid up for them a hope full of glory, a crown of righteousness in heaven.
To you, my brethren, who, keeping the commandments of your Saviour, have the evidence and the test which he has given, that you love him, and are worthily called by his name, to you who are thus privileged to say, “ The Spirit itself
, “ beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the “ sons of God," what an ennobling source of consolation is presented in the prospect which the Scriptures place before you of the fruition of the life eternal in the presence of God! What holiness, what self-denial, what zeal for his glory, should you not strive to manifest! How should every desire which is contrary to the Gospel be restrained and subdued, and every disposition which it commends be cultivated, every Christian
, virtue exemplified and practised !
My brethren, let me exhort you, in the language of an apostle, “ Reckon ye yourselves to be dead “ indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through “ Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then, in all your adversities and troubles, whensoever they oppress you, in all your moments of apprehension and despondency, your's shall be the expectation of dwelling with him in glory; this hope, entering within the vail, shall be an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, to support you among all the changes and chances of this fleeting scene; and when sickness or age gives warning that soon
you must quit for ever this earthly existence, and cease to be influenced by its sorrows or its joys, this shall be your most blessed consolation, this the stay and support of your departing spirit, that though you go hence and be no more seen, you shall enter upon a nobler, a better, and an unending existence ; for that "your life is hid with 6 Christ in God."